May 15, 2020

Harris, Duckworth, Hirono Introduce Resolution Condemning Anti-Asian Discrimination Caused by the COVID-19 Outbreak

Anti-Asian sentiment rises as the coronavirus continues to spread

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) on Thursday introduced a resolution condemning anti-Asian racism that has been prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak. In March, the FBI released an intelligence report finding that hate crimes against Asian-Americans were likely to surge with the spread of the virus. Since that report, we have continued to see hatred and violence toward Asian-Americans. An advocacy group has collected more than 1,100 reports of racist attacks against Asian-Americans since the start of the outbreak. Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) introduced the companion resolution in the House in March.

“The ongoing verbal and physical attacks against Asians, Asian-Americans, and the broader AAPI community prompted by the coronavirus outbreak are sickening,” said Senator Harris. “COVID-19 does not care about your age, your gender, or your race. We must all stand together to condemn these racist attacks– there is no place for hate and discrimination in this country.”

“After Donald Trump repeatedly used his platform to try to racialize this disease, we continue to see a spike in rhetoric and actions against the Asian American community because of misguided fears surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Senator Duckworth. “We must continue to speak out against these racist acts and those who are stoking these fears about a virus that we know strikes without regard to the color of a person’s skin or the language they speak. I’m proud to be introducing this important resolution with Senator Harris, Senator Hirono and Representative Meng.”

“Inflammatory and racist rhetoric from officials at the highest level of our government has contributed to a disturbing rise in hate-crimes targeting Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Senator Hirono. “This resolution sends a clear message of solidarity that stoking racial divisions will only impede our efforts to overcome the immense challenges that this virus poses to our country.”

“Asian Americans, like millions of others across the nation, are fighting on the frontlines against the COVID-19 pandemic. They also share in the extreme concern for their health and economic security. Yet, so many Asian Americans are also living in fear and terror following the dramatic increase of threats and attacks against those of Asian descent. Since the beginning of this public health crisis, I have called on our nation’s leaders, such as our President, to cease using terms like ‘Chinese virus,’ ‘Wuhan virus,’ and ‘Kung-flu.’ Such language is reckless and downright disgusting,” said Congresswoman Meng. “I was grateful to be joined by over 120 colleagues in the House of Representatives in introducing my resolution (H.Res.908) to condemn this incessant and harmful rhetoric, and denounce those who would take advantage of this tumultuous time to slander and abuse the Asian American community. Today, my resolution has over 140 cosponsors and is endorsed by nearly 500 organizations across the United States, and I thank Senators Harris, Duckworth, and Hirono for leading the Senate companion of my measure. COVID-19 distinguishes neither race, ethnicity, class, nor any aspect of one’s background. It’s imperative that we all have the singular focus to prioritize the public safety and health of each and every person. I urge our fellow Americans to stand united and condemn the xenophobic behavior when it arises. The House and Senate must pass both resolutions immediately.”

The resolution is endorsed by Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), Muslim Advocates, Oxfam, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF), National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and over 450 other organizations.

Full text of the resolution can be found here.